Tag Archives: romance

Review of Love on a Train, by Colleen L. Donnelly

I received an Audible code for a copy of Colleen L. Donnelly‘s Love on a Train.

Description from Goodreads:

The moment Martha noticed Raymond on the train, everything her mother warned against erupted – romantic notions, palpitating heart, the desire to write it all in a novel and tell the world. 
Martha lived and wrote that love story until the day Raymond handed her a sketch. “Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” The penciled profile resembled Martha… But when Raymond went away, she knew. She wasn’t the girl he planned to marry. 
David was her father’s apprentice, everything Martha’s mother said made a good husband – hardworking, no romantic tendencies, no tolerance for writing about it. 
Martha added a fictional happy ending to her and Raymond’s story and published it. Cleansed herself of romantic love, ready to marry David. Until a copy of her book appeared. Full of sketches, Raymond’s version of their love story, drawings that enticed her heart to beat once again. 

Review:

My rating (which was a 2 star) is based on my enjoyment—or general lack there of—and the fact that I had to force myself to finish the book. The writing is solid and I’ll even concede that the book within a book mechanism was clever (though occasionally repetitive). And the narrator (Amy Deuchler) did a good job with the audio version. However, I didn’t enjoy the book.

I understand that it was supposed to be set just after the end of the world war and women of that time period had different responsibilities and restrictions. But my god, Martha was a fucking doormat. She didn’t stand up to her mother when they pushed her into an engagement she obviously didn’t want. She didn’t push pack when her fiancé (and mother) expected her to give up all of herself to be a wife. She somehow fell in love and thought to marry a man she met on the train, but apparently didn’t actually know that well. She just went along with everything, internally hand wringing the whole time. And despite being obviously smart, she had NO AMBITION beyond getting married.

Then there was the fact that said man was already engaged to another and just disappeared for months without a word. But as soon as he shows up everything was forgiven and it’s supposed to be a happy ending. Ummmm, no.

And Donnelly should seriously be fined for making the reading of a novel take weeks, dragging the plot out interminably and then, after hundreds of pages of ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ marry him, having the decision and event (arguably the most interesting thing to happen in the book) happen off page, such that the reader is denied it.

I imagine this is just a case of wrong reader for the book. There will no doubt be some that enjoy this. But I did not. I was almost insulted by it.

Review of The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1), by Alisha Rai

cover of the Right Swipe

I won a paperback copy of Alisha Rai‘s The Right Swipe through Goodreads. However, since I seem to be listening to a lot more books than reading lately, I borrowed an audio copy through Hoopla to listen to . I’ll put the paperback in the Little Free Library next time I swap books.

Description from Goodreads:

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules: 

– Nude pics are by invitation only 

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice 

– Protect your heart 

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears. 

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Review:

I have to give a caveat that contemporary romance isn’t really my jam. I love me some romance, but I’d rather it be set on Mars or in some fantasy realm with Elves or dragons. But interesting looking contemporary romances keep falling in my lap and I’m reading them. 

There seems to be a trend lately of writing romances that correct for all the harmful BS that the genre has suffered from in the past (and a lot of why I’ve avoided it). They’re sex positive, inclusive, diverse and feminist. And I cannot tell you how strongly I am here for that shift in tone! The Right Swipe has that in spades. Samson basically offers to hold Rhi’s purse while she works toward world domination. I loved it. 

I did think Rhi was overreactive at times and the book bordered on didactic on several fronts. But I loved Samson and generally enjoyed the story. Plus, Morton and Pallino did great jobs with the narration.

Review of What a Wolf Dares (Lux Catena #2), by Amy Pennza

I received an audible credit for a copy of Amy Pennza‘s What a Wolf Dares.

Description from Goodreads:

What happens when the species’ most notorious womanizer meets the woman of his dreams?

As a werewolf Alpha’s daughter, Sophie Gregory was raised to understand she has two important purposes in life–to be wed and bred. When she fails at the first, she wants nothing to do with the second, even if it means spending the rest of her life alone. After fleeing a disastrous arranged marriage, she seeks shelter with a neighboring pack. There’s just one problem. Her new pack is home to the handsome, roguish Remy Arsenault: serial dater and notorious womanizer. Remy makes her laugh…and her heart pound. She’s not looking for commitment, but she might just be up for a fling. That’s all Remy is offering, anyway, right?

Remy has a reputation for being a player, but in truth, he’s ready to settle down. Too bad that’s the very last thing Sophie is interested in. He will do anything to win the heart of the woman who makes his head spin with lust–including seducing her with the most delicious sex imaginable. Sophie wants a fling. But what if he’s ready for so much more? To convince her he’s serious this time, he might just have to pull off a small miracle. 

Review:

I thought this was a perfectly adequate shifter-finds-his mate story. I didn’t think there was anything to make it stand out and shine, but nor was there anything that made me grit my teeth and hate it. 

I thought the writing was perfectly readable (or listenable, in my case) and I liked both of the main characters. I did think the villains were cartoonish in how vile they were and the person who came to the rescue in the end, wasn’t really redeemed in my eyes for waiting 20+ years to step in. I don’t believe they could have been oblivious. So, I didn’t really find their sudden backbone and moral compass believable. 

All in all, a good middle of the road book. Sophie James did a good job with it too. It was easy to listen to. And the fact that I hadn’t read book one didn’t prevent me from enjoying this one.